AUBURN, Ala. – In the Coliseum parking lot across the street from Plainsman Park, Auburn infielder Brody Moore told his dad he would be changing jersey numbers.
Instead of no. 19, Brody would wear No. 4, the number Brandon Moore wore as Auburn’s shortstop from 1991-94.
“We both teared up a little bit,” Brody said. “A really heartfelt moment for both of us.”
“To be honest, my heart sank,” Brandon said. “When he came to me and told me, ‘I’m going to change to No. 4,’ I was speechless. It didn’t really hit home until the next day. I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a big deal .’ It’s a big deal for me, it’s a big deal for him. I’m honored by that. It means a lot to me now, but at the time I was speechless. I didn’t know what to tell him.”
The number became available following the graduation of third baseman Rankin Woley.
“That’s something he wanted to do,” Brandon said. “Is it special? Absolutely. I’m excited to watch him out there and see him run around with that number on. It’s been a long time since a Moore wore No. 4 here. I just hope it treats him as well as it did me.”
A career .332 hitter at Auburn, Brandon batted .361 and led the Tigers in RBI as a senior in 1994, leading Auburn to its first College World Series appearance in 18 years.
At Oneonta High School, 40 miles northeast of Birmingham, Alabama, Brandon coached Brody and his brother, Braden.
“He’s just been such an inspiration to me my whole life,” Brody said. “He taught me everything I know about the game of baseball. No. 4 finally opened up and I just had to take it. I really wanted to wear that number because of him.”
Like his father, Brody will play shortstop for the Tigers in 2022 after starting at second base the past two seasons.
“Family is No. 1 in my heart,” Brody said. “To have this opportunity to play shortstop this year and wear No. 4 after he did, it’s really special, and I’m really excited for the season.”
“To see him out there competing at a high level is a joy to watch,” Brandon said. “Proud is the first thing that comes to mind. To watch him grow and develop under these coaches. It’s been fun to watch him grow and experience what SEC baseball is all about.”
Brody broke in the new number in October when the Tigers played exhibitions against Tuskegee and Clemson, earning a thumbs up from dad. “He said it looked good,” Brody said.
Brody often hears from seasoned Auburn fans who fondly recall rooting for Brandon on the Plains three decades ago.
“All the time,” Brody said. “When I tell them I’m wearing No. 4, they get tickled to death. We’re ready to get out there and play.”
Before becoming a high school coach, Brandon played seven seasons of professional baseball, then coached in the minor leagues, giving him the ability to evaluate his son through the lens of a father and an expert.
“He’s always known what type of player he is,” Brandon said. “He knows his limits and boundaries, and he pushes them. I see his growth in becoming a leader, being able to lead on the field. He’s been around baseball all his life. He grew up in the dugout with me. To have a so-called coach on the field is very valuable.
“I think I see an above-average arm, definitely above-average hands. An average runner with capabilities of stealing a base, a smart baserunner. I see a contact, line drive approach, maybe a tick below average or getting to an average on the power side, but the intangibles are off the chart.
“Going back to my pro days and when we would evaluate guys, he can play anywhere on the field. You can put him anywhere on the field and he’s going to do well. For me, that’s the type of players who I want on my team.
“He loves Auburn. He’s always loved Auburn. My wife and I, we’re just proud. We’re proud to go out here and watch him play.
“When he leaves here, I want people to say he was a baseball player. The utmost respect he can receive when he leaves here is, that sucker was a good baseball player, and he represented Auburn the right way.”
Soon after arriving at Auburn in 2018, Brody had surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor from his leg, preventing him from taking part in fall practice.
By the following spring, he played first base, third base and left field, helping Auburn reach the College World Series for the first time in 22 years.
“Coming from that to where he is now shows a little bit about him and his resolve,” Brandon said. “It’s been fun to watch him grow. It’s been fun to watch him mature as a player and as a person, and I credit this staff for that. All those guys in that locker room.”
As the 2022 season nears, Brody Moore takes on a new number, a new position and a new role. no. 4, short stop, leader. Just like his dad.
“I think we have great potential,” Brody said. “We have a lot of returners and a lot of new faces, which is always a great thing. I think we’ll get settled in pretty well, and you’re looking at a potentially very good baseball team.”
Brandon and Brody made history in 2019, becoming the first father-son duo to play for Auburn in the College World Series, a feat Brody hopes to repeat this summer.
“That would mean everything to me,” Brody said. “We haven’t hosted a regional since I’ve been here so that’s on the list, and obviously getting back to Omaha. Not many people get to do that twice. We’ve got our minds locked on something and that’s what we’ going after.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer